Summary: Part 3 in series Slowing Down. This message plays down pastors and spiritual professionals, and plays up the unity and equality of all people who follow Jesus.
Power to the People
Slowing Down, part 3
Wildwind Community Church
October 25, 2008
In last week’s message I posed the question, “How do we pursue God in ways that do not end up doing spiritual/emotional/psychological damage to ourselves and others.” Remember how I answered that question at the end? I answered it with the words, “I’m not gonna tell you.” And I didn’t. So this week – I’m still not gonna tell you. Seriously.
Remember a few weeks ago I talked about how I have never really felt any inclination to follow most of the rules for giving tight 3-point sermons? A tight 3-point sermon typically begins with a question, and then goes on to either give you three answers to that question, or to give you one answer and three ways to apply it. Now think about what this presumes. This presumes a few things we really need to look at.
It presumes first of all that the greatest problem in your life is what you don’t know. It presumes that if you could just somehow come to know what you currently don’t know, your life would be better. Although this is unquestionably the case for some people at some times, I think a much bigger problem most of us are dealing with is how do apply in our lives the things we already do know? After all, Jesus said that there’s something more important than information, and that’s the extent to which we are capable of receiving it. Jesus said:
Matthew 13:13 (MSG)
13 That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it.
Boy, we all know what that’s like, don’t we? How many things do you know right now that just haven’t come alive to you yet? Jesus understood this distinction between hearing and receiving.
Let’s think right now of some things that nearly every one of us has heard, but maybe not all of us have received for some reason. Every one of us in this room probably knows that it’s healthy to take a multivitamin every day. Multivitamins are fairly inexpensive and easy to come by. Can I see the hands of everyone here who took a multivitamin every day this last week?
That’s what I thought. What else do we know? We know that we should exercise 4-5 times a week for 30-45 minutes each time. By show of hands, how many people were consistent in this practice THIS WEEK?
That’s what I thought. What else do we know? We know that that unfinished project at our house is driving us or our spouse crazy and we probably need to finish it. How many, by show of hands, went to work on finishing that unfinished project at your house this past week?
That’s what I thought. How about basic morality?
James 1:19 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
No one in this room would disagree with that, right? Christian or not, we all know we should try hard to be good listeners, watch our words carefully, and hold our temper. Okay, ready to get real honest? By show of hands, how many people in this room struggled with one or more of these things this week? That means you didn’t listen very well, you used words you now regret, or you let go of your temper.